How could I go about getting a copy of my medical records?

Preferably without a doctor’s visit - at least one that would cost me money. I may or may not have medical insurance at the moment, and I’m wondering if there’s some way I can come into posession of my medical records (in particular, I want vital stats, weight, etc. and blood tests over a certain period) for cheap or free? Is it possible?

Ask your doctor? I’m fairly certain they’re not going to charge you money to send you a copy of your records.

It is possible to go to a hospital or MD’s office and fill out a ‘release of information’ form and obtain your records.
Whether it’s free or not, I don’t know, but I suspect a ‘processing fee’ will probably rear its bureaucratic head, i.e $15 for 90cents of paper and 2 minutes of copying labor.

What beajerry said. No doctor’s office will release records without a “Release of Information” form being filled out and signed. You will have to specify exactly what you’re looking for and give a timeframe.

There is usually not a doctor’s office visit involved, but you may be asked why you want these records. Ditto for hospital records.

There is usually a charge for medical records, but it’s not that much. It might even be free, depending on the office.


Some doctors’ offices will charge if you just want a copy for yourself, but not charge (or charge less) if you want them sent to another physician. It all depends on where you go.

I used to work in a pediatric cardiology office, and so many parents would need copies of just our records for various reasons (disability claims, sending to a new pediatrician, etc.). They sometimes went through our office directly rather than the hospital’s medical records department, and we’d just copy them for free.

Regardless of what happens, you’ll have to fill out and sign a release of information form, and an actual doctor’s visit won’t be required - you’ll just have to go to the doctor’s office or the medical records section of that medical center and talk to whoever handles that.

I know the OP didn’t ask this, but if anyone’s interested, psychiatric records are different and do not have to be released to the patient if the psychiatrist feels it could be harmful to the patient.

Also, in some states, the physician doesn’t necessarily have to give you a copy of every piece of paper in the record; a summary of the record fufills the requirement to allow the patient access.

While I’m at it, in case anyone wonders, the medical record does not “belong” to the patient as many folks seem to think. It is the property of the physician; the patient is just given the right to obtain a copy or have a copy transferred to another physician, sent to an attorney, or whatever the patient directs in the release.

One more thing not asked by the OP, for information’s sake: there is a new Federal law which is supposed to beef up the security of patient information and it also allows the patient to dispute something in their record. Of course, that doesn’t mean the record will be changed due to a patient’s request, just that the patient’s comment or whatever has to be included in the record.

On preview: My experience has been the same as Ferret Herder’s – generally if you want a copy transferred, no charge; if you want the copy yourself or for an attorney, charge to the max allowable (in AL: 1.00/pg. 1st 25 pg., .50/pg over 50, $5 “search fee,” actual cost of reproducing x-rays, actual cost of mailing).